Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter Break approaches.

I recently came across this photo from one of my on-line albums. It's dated January 6th, 2007. The beach is Ogunquit, Maine. The temperature, as you might guess from my barefootedness, is a balmy 72 degrees, or thereabouts. Do you remember that crazy day? Maybe you were one of the alleged many who peered through my shop window, longingly looking for a cool cone of cookie dough. I remember standing in line at the local deli in Ogunquit that day when a woman says, "Man, I wish I owned an ice cream shop today, I'd be rich!" That one gave me a twinge in my gut. It's never so much about the money, although that's always nice, as much as imagining disappointment in people's faces when they come to the shop only to find a 'closed' sign on the door. Nobody likes to disappoint. But then again, who could have predicted ice cream weather in January?

Well, if this December is any indication, I'd be really surprised to see a beach day around here this January. Although it is New England, and I suppose anything's possible.

I'm not taking any chances, though. I've booked my tickets to Florida. The shop will be locked up tight starting December 31st right through to January 23rd. Time to stock up for the three weeks I'm resting up for what I hope will be another great and fun year. Speaking of stock up, it's a buy 1, get 1 half price thru New Years Eve...

In case I don't see you, have a very happy and safe New Year. If you find yourself at the Brass Cat ball drop at midnight on NYE, especially if you're in your running gear, feel free to wander over to Mantis Graphics next door at 12:01. A gang of us will be running off on our annual NYE Midnight 5K Fun Run. We've got no official timers, so it truly is just for fun. And a cool t-shirt. At least for the first 25 who sign up. If you see us running down the street just after midnight, I hope you'll give us a cheer. Or at least a drunken heckle.

Not sure how much I'll be into posting during my break, so it may be a bit quiet here. But then again, you never know when the mood will strike me...

Happy New Year to you and yours. See you soon.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Santa enjoys a Banana Split.

Seems when you bear a slight resemblance to jolly Nick, you can't even enjoy an ice cream without being captured by the paparazzi. Is it really HIM or just a nice guy taking a shopping break at his favorite ice cream shop? I'll let you decide...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Candy Cane Ice Cream Pie anyone?

It doesn't rival the sales punch of the pumpkin pie ice cream pie for Thanksgiving, but it's still festive and darn tasty in its own way. The candy cane pie. Peppermint stick ice cream on a chocolate cookie crunch, topped with Wicked Good fudge and bits of candy canes for good holiday measure. Order one up today for your holiday get-together...There's still time...

Ho Ho Holy Cow.

In case you either live in Florida or just haven't noticed, winter is on steroids this year. Two feet of snow, single digits cold, and it's not even officially winter yet! But it really has been a tremendous year for ice cream weather, so I really shouldn't complain about a couple snow days in December. It does give you the holiday spirit...

Speaking of holiday spirit, how's that shoppin' coming along? Just in case you're in need of a couple last minute gifts, here are a couple of gratuitous self-promotion ideas for you...

A Mt. Tom's tub of 'vintage' candy - Abba Zappa, Necco Wafers, Old-fashioned Sticks, Mallow Cups, Chuckles, and more...
Or feel free to fill a tub with your own (or significant someone's) favorite.

How about a colorful Mt. Tom's t-shirt? Tie-Dyes, long sleeve, short sleeve, many sizes. Stay tuned for a special sale this weekend. Just ask if you are in before then, I'm sure I could save you a trip...Stocking stuffers anyone? ...

And don't forget about the other cool stores on Cottage Street...

Night Owl Records

Pick your Flicks

Nashawannuck Gallery

Enjoy your holiday festivities!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mt. Tom's Enchanted Village (the early years).

Inspired by a recent trip to the giant Yankee Candle factory store (If you've never been there, it's more like a Disney attraction with interesting odors than a factory outlet), I've decided to plot, purchase, and develop my own little enchanted village in the front window of my shop. This is what we've got so far. A soft serve joint (I know I don't have soft serve but it's still a cool piece. Many thanks to Bre for that.). And on my day off this week, I discovered a great sale at A.C. Moore, so I'm already up to three buildings, a few townsfolk, and an ice cream truck. The other new buildings on the mini-block are a gelateria and a candy store. Go figure.

The master plan is to build an entire city block on a big piece of plywood, fully equipping it with streets, hills, trees, snow, and all the other fixin's. I think it's going to be cool, but it may take a few years, so for this the groundbreaking year, it's a just humble little village of all things Mt. Tom-like.

If others on Cottage Street jump in on the idea, perhaps we may someday rival the Macy's windows in NYC. Ok, probably not, but it would be very cool if the windows of downtown Easthampton eventually became a local holiday destination like Bright Lights in Springfield. Just like anything in life, you gotta start somewhere.

The Shop during a Storm.

In case you were wondering what a good old-fashioned New England snowstorm looks like through the eyes of a candy store, here's one for you...

Looks like we're in for a real New England winter this time. Hot cocoa anyone?

Keep those shovels handy, round 2 on the way Saturday night...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rock candy on a fence.

I wandered around yesterday morning, just me and the trusty new Pentax, through our latest winter wonderland. The night before brought a light rain and temperatures that dangled around the freezing mark. Not quite the killer ice storm the midwest has been suffering through this week, but enough to coat the trees and fences with an intriguing layer of ice. Dare I say the makings of a good batch of rock candy. Lest you fancy a fate like that little boy in the schoolyard on A Christmas story however, I don't recommend sampling.

Sounds like lots of winter weather heading our way this week too...bad for biz, but great for photo opps. Take it slow, enjoy, and stay tuned.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Winter Survival Mode.

One thing I've learned about the 'off-season' for an ice cream biz in New England is that one must be extra creative and very willing to try new things soas to avoid dipping into summer profits to pay the winter heating bill. There certainly are the much beloved die-hard ice cream customers who'll walk a mile through a blizzard for a scoop of cake batter, but reality reminds me yearly that more people than not just don't think ice cream when it's the temperature of ice cream outside.
I'm not complaining about this really. In fact, I actually enjoy the slower months. Shorter hours. Dinner at a relatively normal time. Time for hobbies and actually being able to watch a complete movie after work. I'm not tucked away in my ice cream-making cave all day and night, so I can chat more with customers, which I really enjoy. The bad news is the snow and ice doesn't stop Don the mailman from delivering me bills every week.
The candy and chocolate and coffee drinks have to step up to the plate from November to April. And as any retail biz owner knows, it's all about the holidays, with Christmas being the king of all gift-giving days. With that as a long-winded introduction, I'd like to introduce the latest creation for the coming holiday, the Mt. Tom's Cone of Hot Cocoa...

It's got our own blend of hot cocoa mix topped with mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips, peppermint candy, or sprinkles. One cone makes 2 hearty mugs of hot cocoa. Just add boiling water! Hoping for a winner on this one. If this one doesn't grab you, how about a chocolate dipped marshmallow peppermint star?

Like I said, you gotta be creative and take chances in the winter.

Got a few more ideas in pre-development, stay tuned for more wacky creations, stocking stuffers, and holiday candy novelties...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Virtual Show

As promised, here's a link to images from tonight's show. You can see them up close and personal on the walls of the shop (Mt. Tom's Homemade Ice Cream in case you don't know where you are right now). If you see something you like, they're available for purchase, framed and unframed. Just in time for the holidays... Check them out here.
If you were able to stop in during ArtWalk, thanks.
I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Candy as Art.

In the shop and as part of this weekend's ArtWalk Easthampton, I'll be doing a show of my photography I'm calling 'Shoot Local.'. It's a collection of my favorite images of 2007. In addition to these favorites, I've put together a little montage of candy images, a somewhat random collection of colorful shots peering into candy jars in the shop. I'm looking forward to seeing them all together on the wall. I invite you to stop in for a look, a bit of chocolate, and a hot coffee. Hope to see you on Saturday (5 -8pm). In case you can't make it for that, the show will stay on the walls thru the end of December. And if you're far away, I'm also planning to post a Flickr link for you to take a virtual look. Stay tuned for that later in the weekend.

Thanks in advance.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Holiday Spirit Yet?

In case the wintery weather descending upon us isn't getting you into the spirit, I thought a little glimpse of my latest creation, Eggnog Cheesecake ice cream, might do the trick. Doesn't that look tasty? You know you want some...

Stay tuned, Festivus party order or not, I plan to make up a batch of Festivus ice cream sometime this week too. In case you don't remember that one, it's got bites of homemade gingerbread and a caramel swirl in a brown sugar and cinnamon base. Intriguing.

And I suppose if you're one of those who thinks it's too cold to eat ice cream this time of year (I forgive you), how about a glove-ful of reindeer corn for a sweet snack?